As the UK marks the 10th National Apprenticeship Week (6-10 March 2017), specialist training provider Develop Training Limited (DTL) is urging the UK government to bring forward new initiatives to market apprenticeships effectively to the next generation of workers.
The Apprenticeship Levy, which is due to launch in April, may encourage employers to create more opportunities for this form of training, but the future workforce needs to be made better aware of the benefits of apprenticeships, which offer attractive alternate career paths to university degrees. Not only do apprenticeships provide continued learning but also vital ‘real world’ experience, an income and the prospect of employment on completion.
Chris Wood, CEO at DTL, explains: “Unfortunately, there is an underlying prejudice in the UK that an apprenticeship is in some way the route to an inferior, purely manual role rather than the start of a vital, high-skilled career. Young people need to be made more aware of the benefits of apprenticeships and the opportunities which are available in the utilities and construction sectors, in particular.”
In recent years, vocational training and apprenticeships have become unfashionable as more and more students have been encouraged to continue their academic studies in universities. But the tide could be turning. The introduction of student loans, with their resultant debts, has diminished the appeal of university. Apprenticeships now represent real opportunities for alternate career paths, as they offer not only continued learning but an income at the same time.
Chris Wood added: “Apprenticeships need to be marketed effectively. They are not a second-best option to university, but a positive alternative. Of course, we should never seek to dissuade students from pursuing a university education, but apprenticeships offer a degree without the debt and with that most vital type of learning – real-world work experience.”